Friday, March 27, 2015

Where Tobacco is Still King and 6-Year Olds Get as Addicted to Smoking as Adults

Good Day World!

I know where you can still get a pack of cigarettes for about a dollar.

Visit Indonesia.

While you’re there, don’t be surprised if you see six-year old boys chain-smoking cigarettes. In the past 20 years, 6-9 year-old smokers have tripled, according to the World Health Organization.

A few years back, a video of an Indonesian toddler smoking 40 cigarettes a day went viral worldwide, and prompted heartfelt official declarations in the country.

But not much has changed.

In fact, things are getting worse. Lisda Sundari, deputy director for education and advocacy at the local children NGO Lentera Anak, said the number of children aged 10 to 14 who smoke has doubled over the past 20 years.

Sixty-seven percent of Indonesian men and 41 percent of 13 to 15 year-old boys smoke. Indonesia is one of the few countries in the world that hasn’t signed the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

The ads are on Television, in newspapers and magazines, and plastered on trees lining the roads. Indonesian cities are choked with giant billboards promising “pleasure, style and confidence.”

Cigarette companies sponsor almost all of the country’s concerts and sports events, not to mention refugee camps.

While selling cigarettes to minors is officially forbidden, it’s never enforced.

About 240,000 people died in Indonesia in 2013 because of tobacco, meaning that 660 people died every day, or 27 people per hour.

Indonesia is one of the biggest tobacco markets in the word, cigarette companies are powerful, and politicians easily corruptible.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has launched a campaign against narcotics, and made the execution of drug dealers a priority.Since he arrived in power in October, Widodo has tirelessly repeated the claim that 40 to 50 people die every day because of drugs.

Compare that with 27 people dying every hour and you’ll understand why activists find the double standard hard to take.

As far as I know, no other country in the world allows children to smoke cigarettes so openly. Indonesia is a good example of government corruption endangering it’s people and future generations for the love of money.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

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